Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Shawn Biggs at Studio Paradiso, San Francisco, California
John Murry sings about a hornet's nest that's inside his brain. It leads to all sorts of interesting things on his album, "The Graceless Age." The album and its places benefit from the hornets and the anger that they wish to stir up and then transfer in an act of aggression, which is also just the acting out of a sudden fear. This graceless age is populated with fear. It's teeming with those whispered concerns, the ones that we put on the stove, like a kettle, waiting for them to boil and send the steam whistling.
It's an era filled with people who want something they'll never get to hold, or even sniff. They are surrounded by broken pipes, bad joints, leaky faucets, wrinkles and arthritis. They're reminded over and over about the very meagerness of what they're doing and how they're living. They're getting by and not much more than that. After some time of not just living that way, but recognizing it as nothing but being in a rudderless boat, they grow as discontented as they could ever become and they think about turning to desperate measures.
Murry, the second cousin of the great writer of the south -- William Faulkner, is a masterful songwriter, capable of keeping hope and rotten luck, or the damned breaks, all circulating, making everyone somehow think that there's always a shot of the hope finally coming down and perching - though the odds are rarely in favor of that every happening. He sings, "You don't believe in magic/Well, nobody does anymore," right before some backup singers sing a few hummable bars of what sounds to be - fairly obviously - "Imagine," by John Lennon. The juxtaposition of such a potentially sunny future snapshot is repurposed here so that it can help express just what it might mean to be spiritually bankrupt and having to deal with the consequences of that.